Introduction Atrial premature complexes have been reported to be the most common arrhythmia in cattle and is suspected to be secondary to systemic disease, especially gastrointestinal disease. In order to properly identify pathologic arrhythmia in cattle, the normal rhythm and arrhythmia prevalence should be defined. The objective of this study was to determine the normal heart rate, rhythm, number of ventricular premature complexes (VPCs), and atrial premature complexes (APCs) in unrestrained Angus steers. Animals Twenty-seven client owned steers with unremarkable physical examinations and serum biochemical analyses were used. Materials and methods Twenty-four hour Holter monitors, attached by a custom-made harness, were retrospectively evaluated. Three lead electrocardiographic registrations of good quality and normal sinus rhythm were obtained from all steers in the study. Results The mean heart rate was 66.8 bpm ± 16.4 bpm. Ventricular premature complexes were rare (noted in 14.8% of steers), and APCs were common (noted in 85% of the steers). Simple second degree AV block was observed in 18.5% of the steers. Conclusion In summary, healthy steers have rare single VPCs, although it is possible for an individual animal to have apparent more frequent VPCs. Mean heart rate varies with a diurnal pattern similar to other species. Atrial premature complexes are the most prevalent abnormality observed in feedlot steers.
- Holter monitors